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Thread: Delta Cow hunts

  1. #1
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Delta Cow hunts

    What a mad house that was last year with only 180 permits given in DM798 & DM799.

    Now this year with 390 and 200 permits...I don't think you'll be able to scratch your nose with out rubbin' elbows with another guy.

    I don't think 590 cows is a reasonable number.
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    So what do you think IS a reasonable number?

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Zero would be ideal. Cow hunts are counter-productive to healthy populations. The trickle-down effect of taking a cow out of the population is huge over time. But, we just can't seem to learn anything from past game management strategies that failed elsewhere.
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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Figure out of that number how many people will not go and will not be successful?
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I helped three people harvet cows out of the DM797 area that isn't being re-opened this year. While I understand the notion that cow hunts are often counterproductive, there is truth to the notion that this area is (was?) overpopulated. I have never seen an area with even half that many moose. One of the days we hunted there was about 6 inches of snow overnight. By first light there were tracks every 10-20 feet for the first 3 miles off the road. There is no way that interior habitat can support that many moose in perpetuity. We can either harvest some of those moose and put meat on Alaskans' tables or let the overpopulation continue until the habitat is degraded to the point the herd experiences a population crash. I'll vote for increased harvest anytime in such a situation.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joat
    Cow hunts are counter-productive to healthy populations. The trickle-down effect of taking a cow out of the population is huge over time.


    As I mentioned in THIS community perspective piece for the Newsminer, not only are antlerless hunts necessary, but the reason they are justified in this case is to "halt population growth, lessen cumulative effects of high browsing rates, and maximize yield [by hunters]."

    In many areas in the lower 48 where we had/have high densities of game, cow/doe hunts were/are very much necessary to thin populations and to achieve whatever bull:cow (buck:doe) ratio management schemes think is best for continued sustained yields.

  7. #7
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AkHunter45 View Post
    So what do you think IS a reasonable number?

    Alot less than what it's going to be. I'm not opposed to shooting cows at a reasonable number, but I think those numbers are outlandish and irresponsible.
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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    I can't speak for the rest of the area out by delta, but there is one location where my wife and I like to camp and I've spent a fair amount of time. No doubt it was badly overpopulated. I've never seen willows browsed down so bad, or so many moose in a small area. Last years hunt seems to have thinned them a bit, but it doesn't take a biologist to see that the population was due for a down cycle.

    With that many hunters though, no doubt it will be pretty crowded. Not really my favorite way to hunt.

    Yk

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    As for the crowding issue, we were up there on the weekend for two different trips last year. Although there was someone parked at nearly every trailhead, we did not see any other hunters while actually in the field. This was in the unit where 540 permits were awarded.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post

    As I mentioned in THIS community perspective piece for the Newsminer, not only are antlerless hunts necessary, but the reason they are justified in this case is to "halt population growth, lessen cumulative effects of high browsing rates, and maximize yield [by hunters]."

    In many areas in the lower 48 where we had/have high densities of game, cow/doe hunts were/are very much necessary to thin populations and to achieve whatever bull:cow (buck:doe) ratio management schemes think is best for continued sustained yields.
    Well said Mark, I couldn't agree more!

  11. #11
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Too much reduction

    I understand the need to reduce numbers of animals by shooting the females. It's too bad this doesn't seem to be fesible for caribou.

    However, one needs to be aware that game departments can (and do) overdo the reduction part. Where I hunt deer in PA, the state goal was 16 deer per square mile. The whitetail population last fall was 6 deer per square mile.

    I personally think that game departments should err on the conservative side.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

    The above part about whitetails was just as an example. I've hunted Alaska enough to know that populations are much lower there than in the lower 48. Heck, I would be in hunting heaven in an area with 6 moose per square mile.

  12. #12
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    Default My opionion for what its worth:

    I am strictly against the cow hunts in this area. If you look at the area , you don't need a $25.00 tag in 20D to hunt griz and its 1 ever year. They tell you that they want to cut down on predetors, like the wolfs and bears to save the moose pouplation, then they open a cow and calf hunt. I was here in 1970 when they did this and it took over 30 years for the pouplation to get back to where it is now. This is a repeat that nobody learned from the first time. LET MOTHER NATURE TAKE ITS COURSE. I am a hunter and have been in 20D for over 30 years and I've never taken a cow, and won't unless it is to survive ( in the last 3 years 2200 cows and calfs, and another 600 next year). See for youselfs when this happens.

    PS That number dos'nt count the four legged critters. E.S.

  13. #13

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    Guys are making a bigger deal out of this Delta Cow hunt than is neccessary. There were many cows taken out of Delta last year and it doesn't show by driving through there. That is an area that undoubtedly has more moose per sq mile than anywhere else in this state IMO. I will gladly donate $5 again this year for a chance to fill the freezer with some of the best eating game there is. As a matter of fact I'd rather do that than chase rutted bulls. I will agree that the whole predation concept doesn't seem to apply well in Delta because theres also a ton of griz in Delta and it doesn't appear that they have been able to hamper the moose numbers like in many places. I would absolutely luv to see them scoot that bear predator control project (legal baiting for griz) from 20 E to 20 D, now that would be something to see. Theres lots and lots of griz in 20D but there hard as heck to hunt in the terrain they live in.

  14. #14
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    The big problem with cow hunts is that the state doesn't have a clue as to what the actual moose population is, nor the male/female composition of said populations. They basically do a few very small sample aerial surveys, then guess-timate that number to be the same for the entire region. Secondly, they haven't established how many moose an area can handle, so seeing a bunch of moose doesn't mean an area is "over populated". These population reduction strategies via cow hunts have failed miserably in the past all over the place. Have we seen any good evidence that population reduction is needed and are they managing the current cow hunts with better scientific data than has been used historically?
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  15. #15
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    Default Moose migrate

    In the fall all the moose start following the valleys down to the flat lands. They bunch up and the numbers are big. In the spring they all seperate and pretty much go back to the place they started from the previous year. The reason I know this is I spent a few years in the hills. The first year I did'nt worry about getting a moose because I thought I'd get one when I needed it. WRONG Nov. came around there was'nt a moose track to be found. I did'nt see another track til march. But that summer the same cow ( white patch on her side ) was back in the pond. I know I can't convince you guys, but think about it and don't let the history repeat itself just because some "expert" told you it was ok. E.S.

    P.S. For all you out there that want just want to moose, hey lets wipe Delta out then it will be just like the rest of Alaska. E.S.

  16. #16

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    I've hunted a section outside of DJ for a good number of years now and it amazes me how many moose live in that area. With all those predators and all those hunters you would think that there wouldn't be many left. The population did need a reduction contrary to what most people think. I'd like to see the results in the coming year of what last years harvest brings about as far as moose numbers go. There are more sublegal bulls in that area than any other area i have hunted so I don't know if their "trophy management" plan is all that it's kicked up to be. 4 brow tined bulls are scarce and if one should happen to grow that 4th browtine, you can bet he won't be around long.

  17. #17
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default misinformation...some clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT
    The big problem with cow hunts is that the state doesn't have a clue as to what the actual moose population is, nor the male/female composition of said populations. They basically do a few very small sample aerial surveys, then guess-timate that number to be the same for the entire region. Secondly, they haven't established how many moose an area can handle, so seeing a bunch of moose doesn't mean an area is "over populated".
    I'm really sorry to see misinformation like the above presented on this forum.

    First off, the Tanana Flats moose herd is most researched and studied moose population in Alaska. I've spoken with all of the biologists who've been doing work in this area, been at presentations, and it is patently absurd to say that the "state doesn't have a clue" about the population and overbrowsing and nutritional and twinning problems in this area.

    I'll be getting some of this up on our new education page on our Alaska Backcountry Hunters site in the future. There is a great research paper that was out last year documenting many of the nutritional indices of this moose herd. For years now the state has been doing twinning surveys, mortality studies, and nutritional and browse studies.

    What we can tell from low twinning rates and low rump fat depths and "herd diseases" prevalent now among the Tanana Flats population is that they are in trouble nutritionally. All those indices are indicators of overbrowsing of range and not enough quality browse. They are inidicators too that a crash could be imminent. All it would take is one or two deep-snow winters.

    Contrary to what JOAT said, the "density estimates" are valid, and were carried out properly. I could go into a long detailed explanation of how aerial density estimates are carried out that would bore most of you...but suffice it to say there really are as many moose as ADFG is telling you. And we've got more moose collared out there than anywhere else I know of, which we've been collecting data from.

    Now, one of the things that slowed down and prevented antlerless hunts we have now (that are rather extreme in their numbers to many) is related to the mistakes of the past that Rock Skipper mentioned. Yes, biologists in the 70s made mistakes. But a lot has changed in the last 30 years with research and monitoring and wildlife science. They are not going to make that same mistake now.

    There are basically two choices. We can not shoot cows and calves and let the moose population continue to overbrowse their range and subsequently lengthen the time span for recovery, and hope mother nature helps take care of the problem with a deep-snow winter or two that causes massive die-offs. Or we can shoot cows and calves now so that humans have that meat in their freezers and speed along the process of range recovery so we can continue to have high sustained yields in this region in the near future.

    Take your pick.

  18. #18
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Mark, thanks fore your info, but there are some things to consider here, the cows that are shot that leave the calfs behind to fend for them selfs, that were not counted in the hunt. I have seen 3-1 year olds by them selfs in the last year, 1 that curled up next to my house for 3 days before it got up and moved on( -40 below ). You talk about browsing, if there not twinning don't you think that nature is taking the course for us? You are doing the same thing that has been done weather you know or not.
    Lets go back 30 years ago after the slaughter and take a look at how many griz, and blacks there were in the area. The blacks were everywhere, not a whole lot of griz. Today can't hardly find a set of blackies track, the griz have run them out. All a part of nature. ( Mind you all this is a 100 miles up a river that these moose go to) I guess what I'm saying is that there is more to this than meets the eye, I just see another train wreck coming, just my 2 cents guys, sorry if it comes across wrong. E.S.

  19. #19
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Not mis-information... just another point of view. Two can look at the same data and come up with completely different conclusions. I wish I could share your confidence in our Government's conclusions on such issues. Please provide a link to this article you've referenced as I would like to read it. My mind is always open to more info, but I've yet to be convinced that these cow hunts are a good idea. Not that it matters, as I don't have any power to change things... none of us do when it comes to natural resources.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock_skipper View Post
    Mark, thanks fore your info, but there are some things to consider here, the cows that are shot that leave the calfs behind to fend for them selfs, that were not counted in the hunt. I have seen 3-1 year olds by them selfs in the last year, 1 that curled up next to my house for 3 days before it got up and moved on( -40 below ). You talk about browsing, if there not twinning don't you think that nature is taking the course for us? You are doing the same thing that has been done weather you know or not.
    Lets go back 30 years ago after the slaughter and take a look at how many griz, and blacks there were in the area. The blacks were everywhere, not a whole lot of griz. Today can't hardly find a set of blackies track, the griz have run them out. All a part of nature. ( Mind you all this is a 100 miles up a river that these moose go to) I guess what I'm saying is that there is more to this than meets the eye, I just see another train wreck coming, just my 2 cents guys, sorry if it comes across wrong. E.S.
    I don't think hunters can shoot bearing cows(correct terminology?). There are many reasons why you see lone calves.

    What area are you talking about? This thread was brought up originally to discuss delta, but there has been discussion about the Tanana Flats. These are two very different areas, and it's hard to form a response without knowing exactly what you're talking about.

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